Firing for Refusal to Sign an Unlawful Confidentiality Agreement Violates the NLRA


Terminating an employee who refused to sign a confidentiality agreement that unlawfully prohibited the employee from engaging in protected activities under the National Labor Relations Act was illegal, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

In NLRB v. Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc., the employer required its employees to sign a confidentiality agreement that prohibited them from discussing their salaries and banned them from talking to the media about their employment and working conditions, among other things. Section 7 of the NLRA protects an employee’s ability to engage in concerted activity regarding the terms and conditions of employment. The Second Circuit agreed with the Board that the confidentiality agreement ran afoul of Section 7’s protections, as it would deter employees from their protected right to engage in concerted activity, such as a discussion of their wages and other terms and conditions of employment. Therefore, terminating the employee for refusing to sign the unlawful agreement violated the NLRA.